The Real Reason Gun Research Is Dead At The CDC

Among the many sins anti-gunners attribute to their opponents, perhaps the most egregious is the claim that the Dickey Amendment shut down gun research at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. They argue until they’re blue in the face that the law killed any and all federal research on the topic of firearms and gun-related violence.


Pro-gun forces argue the amendment did no such thing. Instead, it simply barred the CDC from using the money for gun control purposes.

The thing is, in a way, both sides are right (emphasis mine).

The group of researchers will be joining forces to improve the quantity of research conducted on gun violence. They aim to build a foundation of research to fix this deficiency, Galea wrote in an email.

“The group was formed to help address the shortage of gun violence research by building a stable base of such work in [the] future,” Galea wrote. “It aims to build more research in the area by making funds available over time.”

This absence of adequate research, Siegel said, is in part due to an amendment in a 1996 bill passed by Congress that stated that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could not use their federal funds to advocate for gun control.

The statement was interpreted by the CDC, Siegel said, to mean that they should not do any sort of research on gun violence for fear of losing their federal funds.

Pro-gun activists are right that it didn’t create a ban on gun research. However, anti-gunners are right that the law did stifle research. The question is, why?

The answer to that lies, at least in part, with a story we ran last week. You see, the CDC did a lot of research before the law, but not all of it saw the light of day. Until recently, anyway.

In other words, the CDC interpreted the law to kill all research because the only research they were interested in doing was pro-gun control research. They allowed their biases to infect the scientific process. They wanted to allow their personal feelings and ideologies to influence their research to the point where they were simply looking for proof of what they believed all along.


And, as we saw last week, when they found evidence to the contrary, they sat on it.

The CDC felt like they were barred from doing any research because, in their mind, the only real research to be done was work that would feed their confirmation bias.

But it wasn’t really a ban. It was a fence. “Do unbiased research and don’t promote a political position.” That’s all it said.

Unfortunately, the progressive disease of looking at everything through ideology goes back a fair ways. The idea that progressivism must trump science is what’s really to blame. Nothing more, nothing less.

Look, if the CDC wants to do research, go do it. We’ll address the research as it comes, but do good work and create sound methodologies and so be it.

Frankly, though, it won’t change my mind in the least. My rights don’t disappear because of anyone’s study.

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